Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bell's Guide to Application Failure

There have been some applications to Vigilant in the past month or two where I've just hung my head in shame because, well...what in the world were these people thinking? It's like they took every rule for applying to a place you wish to join, chucked it out the window and decided to be a special snowflake and just, well, put us off entirely.

So, now, I'm going to illustrate to you just how to get your application rejected from a high end raiding guild. Enjoy!

Step One: Ignore the application format.
The application format is obviously just a set of guidelines. It's not really information the guild needs to know, it's just stuff we want to know and, well, you can't always get what you want. Make sure to ignore half our questions, make up your own and don't answer anything fully.

Step Two: Log out in PvP gear.
Even though it says specifically on our site to log out in your PvE gear and spec so we can inspect it and ask questions, just log out in your PvP gear and spec anyway. Or equip your fishing pole. Or wear your RP set. Anything so long as it's not what we asked for. We will be very impressed by your full Judgment set.

Step Three: Tell us your opinion of our questions.
Don't like a question? Think it's pointless? Let us know. We think it's really important for you to pick apart our application process. This doesn't reflect badly on your character at all.

Step Four: Show us your care face.
Nothing's better than reading an application going "I just dropped x profession but I'll get y profession up right away" and then watching the skill level never rise. We also enjoy reading "yeah, it's unenchanted and I'm gonna enchant it soon, I'm just being lazy right now." Be in gear two tiers behind without having even pugged ToC 10 as well. This shows us you really care and really want to be a part of a guild working on ToGC 25.

Step Five: Bother us in-game.
Your application has been up for four hours and no one's said anything yet? Make sure to send us tells, lots of tells, in-game to anyone of your class who will listen. Let us know how many views your application has had, ask us our opinions on your chances of getting in, and definitely bother us during raids. We really like this.

Step Six: Reference people we don't know.
I'm glad someone on your server recommended you to us. We don't know who that person is, really, but that's okay. You could even be making them up! Especially as no one with that name has ever been in our guild, and if they had they probably would have told you their original name. This makes it look suspiciously like your application answers were copy and pasted from another guild's application, but who cares?

Step Seven: rite liek this.
U no WoW is just a gaem so gramar & spaeling dont mater rite.

Step Eight: Lie.
Lie to us. We really like when you've misrepresented yourself on your application. It starts building that foundation of trust right away. We'll know we can count on never counting on you to be truthful, and that's important.

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That's about all that has recently occurred on our application forums. The sad part is, there may be a part 2 to this somewhere down the road...


Ho Ho said...

I've seen a few very good custom-made application templates that are not directly following the guidlines given buy guild. It's generally not bad to make your own as long as you give at least as much information as the proposed template asks and it's presented nicely.

Obviously for each such a good application there are about 5-10 awful ones consisting of char name, "Iwannaraidwithyouasyouaregoodandcancarryme" and half the text is made up of lol, rofl and emoticons without any punctuation or newlines.

If an applicant is 100% coefident he can make a custom-format application and not fail at it it's generally good, though it's much easier to screw things up that way than when follow given guidlines.

Jong said...

"Don't like a question? Think it's pointless? Let us know."


Kring said...

I think a lot of guilds ask stuff they don't need to know. You don't need to know my real name or my RL job. It just doesn't matter as long as I perform and attend the raids.

You might be interested in that information but it doesn't matter for an application to a guild/raid.

Refusing someone for bad grammar or for obviously not taking the time to write an application is probably a good idea.

Refusing someone who did not answer unimportant questions just for that reason is stupid.

I haven't read your questions but if someone doesn't like a question, that's a valid answer for me. It tells you that he doesn't like the question and would prefer to keep the answer private.

This is not an attack against you. It's just a vent against all these arrogant people who think applicants have to answer every stupid question they can come up with just because they are in the guild and therefore have the power.

Before I apply to a raid/guild, I read the answers the raid members wrote to applications. That's often a very good sign if I even would be interested to play together with them.

Bell said...

@Ho Ho - when custom applications specifically leave out a huge chunk of information a guild is interested in (even simple information like "do you have vent and a mic") it's generally a bad thing. And to include all the information a guild asks for, why not simply follow the guidelines they've set out, especially when there's an automated fill-in-the-blank application on the guild website?

@Jong - this just happened today =_=

@Kring - a lot of guilds ask questions like your RL name or location because of curiosity. We have those questions, but we never demand people answer them completely. We have people who kid around on them and that's been fine.

The difference is in answering a question and being rude enough to say to a guild "I don't know why you care, I'm answering it anyway, but this is stupid." It's completely disrespectful. And, honestly, the time it just came up was in asking to see a UI. We do this so we can see if people have keybinds, use their skills, and have room on their screen to actually see what's going on. To us, those kinds of questions are important and telling us they're stupid does nothing but antagonize us, the guild you want to join.

Kring said...

> The difference is in answering a question and
> being rude enough to say to a guild "I don't know
> why you care, I'm answering it anyway, but this
> is stupid." It's completely disrespectful.

I agree. I answer a question or remove if from the
form. If they notice that I didn't answer a question
they at least have the information that I think
the answer is private.

90% off all applications are stupid.

But 90% of all "hot to apply" guides from guilds are
even more stupid. Most of the time the good guilds
also ask in a professional way for an application.

> And, honestly, the time it just came up was in
> asking to see a UI. We do this so we can see if
> people have keybinds, use their skills, and have
> room on their screen to actually see what's going
> on. To us, those kinds of questions are important
> and telling us they're stupid does nothing but
> antagonize us, the guild you want to join.

That would be interesting if you have time and interest
to write a post about that with examples and what
your/their conclusion was.

I was never interested in the "this is my interface
and this is why I think it's perfect" reports.

But a "this is your interface and this is why it sucks"
could be interesting.

Bell said...

@Kring - unfortunately, I'm really not in the habit of singling people out and tearing them down; I don't think it's a good thing to do on my blog. I suppose I could intentionally destroy my own UI but man... that could be painful ><

Argon said...

Some people must just go down the list of guild rankings on their server and apply to everything.

lissanna said...

My guild makes applicants write a haiku. If people won't do it, or don't make a good attempt, they pretty much automatically get rejected for guild application.

The officers cite it as a way to see if they'll follow directions. If they won't take the time to learn how to write even a sucky haiku, how can you trust them to learn boss fights on their own before they come to raids? So, some things that may seem pointless & silly to you may be really important to the officers.

Imalinata said...

Part of the reason behind having a set application form is because the recruitment officer knows where all the answers *should* be. While you may put the same info down in a different format, you are making me work harder to find the information I need at a glance, especially when I'm trying to read your app surreptitiously at work. ;)

I never really got the whole RL name question. But we do ask for time zone or GMT+/- x because we've had people overlook that we raid US PST evenings. We also added questions about schedule stability (due to students, shift work, or military deployments) and living situation (live alone, in dorms, roommates, etc) because we've had people apply who then had major unexpected (to us) schedule changes or had parents (even though we're 18+) who disagreed with them raiding and would yank the internet cable out of the wall.

If people remove or ignore our questions, they get called on it and asked to answer. Regardless of if you think they're not necessary, the officers have a reason for putting them in there. To us, if you ignore it, it means that you couldn't pay enough attention to details so we generalize it to how you'll perform in raids.

The question on our app that tends to throw people is "What's your favorite sexual fetish?" We don't care what apps put down (hell make something up) but we can get raunchy in guild/vent when we're shooting the shit with each other so we're looking for people who can handle that and will mesh. If someone is too scared to put something down, chances are that they'll have a hard time fitting in and they'll just end up leaving after wasting their time & $25.

But even when people have missed questions, I've never outright rejected an application for that alone. Usually there's other more concrete game reasons to reject the people who refuse to answer questions or who choose to criticize our app while applying.

Saunder said...

Hi Bell,

Might I suggest an alternative (If you were open to it) - get someone who is happy to let you critique their UI, as an exercise in constructive criticism.

You could make your points and the person could get an understanding of things they could change.

I say this because I rarely play with people IRL and therefore rarely see their screen layouts and UI's - My UI is one that has grown up from my playing the game, but I have *no* idea if it is up to the sort of standard that a top raiding guild would expect (even had I pugged ToGC or were planning on applying to such a guild) - even raiders who run 5 and 10 mans could improve if given tips on "This is a really bad idea because ..." or whatever.

I'd be happy to give you a screenshot of my UI for you to tear apart in that way if you wanted one where there *wasn't* a guild app riding on the outcome. Of course, you probably have better things to do :D, but the offer is there if you are interested.

Brent said...

You forgot:

* Talk back - If someone comments in a way that puts you in a negative light, such as "Could you explain your choice of gems" or "Why did you chose Talent X", then make sure to a) reply on the forums in clear leet speak that they have no idea what they're doing or talking about and should just Alt-F4, and b) repeatedly whisper those people in game telling them they suck (especially when they're in Raid instances) and that they're just being vindictive and what did you ever do to them?

Kring said...

Bell, I didn't want you to embarass other people. The idea was
more to show what's bad on (other people) interface.
Constructive feedback.

> The officers cite it as a way to see if they'll follow
> directions. If they won't take the time to learn how to
> write even a sucky haiku, how can you trust them to learn
> boss fights on their own before they come to raids? So,
> some things that may seem pointless & silly to you may
> be really important to the officers.

That sounds like a good idea if you want to build an army of
non-thinking soldiers. :)

The guild applications are not a one way street. The more people
you neglect for random reasons, the lesser people you get to
choose from. And, to be honest, the best people are never ever
the ones who "follow directions".

For most guilds it's not that everyone would like to be in
"your" guild. Most guilds have to look for members. Therefore,
one might think, it would also be a good idea for a guild itself
to make a good impression and not ask "stupid" questions. They
would like to get the best memebers and before you can even select
them, they have to apply.

As much as you would like to get the best guild members, the
person looking for a new guild would like to get the best guild.

Anonymous said...

I've had many different experinces with templates, from both sides.

I once didn't apply to a guild just because I didn't like the template "feel" and thought I'd not feel good in there.

I always liked the semi-compulsory templates - ie "please use this template, or your own, but make sure you answer our questions in it". Think this gives the applicant a way to express themselves and provides more info for the evaluating guild.

@ Show your UI question - lately I find it really necessary to see it. Back in the days you could tell people's experience from the gear. Nowadays? Not gear nor achievments are the measure (barring the REAL hardmodes), anyone can lie in their application and it's these little questions that can give you just the tiny more info about the applicant. Let's face it, if a rogue applies to your guild, his default UI cluttered with action bars left and right and that rogue still has autoattack in first slot, that is alarming. Add a large recount in middle of that rogue UI and what you gather from that?

I am myself an addon junkie, but do not expect everyone to tweak their UI with custom frames, bars, timers and trackers. I've never looked down at "clicker with default ui" but too much is too much. Autoattack at first bar spot? Really?

Kayeri said...

I also read apps posted in order to get an idea of the guild attitude itself from how they are responded to by the guild officers. I once heard in guild that one of our members had posted an app to another raid guild... and I went and looked, and these were the most negative people I have ever seen... Any app that was posted that wasnt perfect had "FAIL" responded to it followed by many insults to the applicant. I knew right then I'd never want to be a part of that guild.

Another ( a highly successful BC raiding guild ) had very polite responses consisting of either a polite denial or a request to set up an in-game talk to check things out further. You can learn things from a guild by checking those out.

In our own apps, nothing is more frustrating to an officer than poorly answered apps. We do this to get an idea of you and your skills. We are going to take the time to read all this carefully and check you out. Take the time to answer fully. If you arent comfortable with a question, feel free to say so in a polite fashion. at least there is an answer there to read and if we feel it's important, we'll follow up.

Bell said...

@Argon – that’s true. Still, it’d be nice if there was some effort involved...

@lissanna – that’s pretty neat! And a good reason for it.

@Imalinata – Following the set application does make things much less of a headache for the people reading it, it’s true. Like I said, the RL name/location kind of stuff is out of curiosity (we’ve found an applicant who’s gone to school with one of our officers completely by accident that way!) and people can always say “I would prefer not to say.” It’s better than just leaving it blank. I agree; when people ignore questions they should be called on it. It looks sloppy, and you can’t tell if they missed it or ignored it on purpose. The “sexual fetish” thing made me laugh, and is an awesome idea.

@Saunder – I’d consider doing that if I was really an expert in UI; the best I can do is make cosmetic suggestions, or a few addon suggestions. I’m not an encyclopedia, I can just say “you’re impeding visibility here” or “this is really good placement.” A lot of it comes down to what works for you, but I would be able to maybe show some problem areas. That’s why I’m reluctant to open it up to just anyone’s UI.

@Brent – Very good point! I’d forgotten that one as it hasn’t happened in quite a while.

@Kring – The “non thinking soldier” argument is about as valid as calling people “sheeple” for liking something popular. If you like the idea of having some free-form thinker who does their own thing and doesn’t bother with instructions, let me tell you a story. It’s the story of a priest who joined the guild. He fought with the healing officers on everything, ignored their instructions, bitched about who loot went to (he could do it better!) and now hasn’t logged in for 10 days without telling us where he went. He would be a “free thinker” and not one of our “non thinking soldiers” who follow directives and complete tasks. If we wanted “non-thinkers” we wouldn’t ask about out of WoW hobbies or question them for their opinions. Our guild mages have gotten into huge theorycrafting discussions with applicants. Asking someone to follow an outline is not limiting their thinking ability. You don’t go to a job interview and tell the company that you dislike their outline so here’s your own, nor do you leave information blank. The guild’s application to you is when you check out their status, their site, and their forums. By applying, it is assumed the guild is one that you want to join. At that point, it is up to you to show that you’re someone they want in their guild, and generally guilds like it when you follow their instructions for doing this. Once a discussion is started the guild may have a little to prove to you, but unless they’re on the brink of destruction they’re not going to just snag anyone who comes along.

@blueberrytotem – I agree, if you don’t like the template, don’t apply. I’ve done this before when looking for guilds to apply to. Semi-cumpolsory templates may be nice, but they’re also a headache for people trying to categorize information. For the UI stuff, I agree – it shows a lot about a person’s abilities where things are located and how they use different addons (or don’t).

@Kayeri – I agree, responses to guild applications are important. We’ve had some issues with that ourselves that we’ve tried to iron out.

Kring said...

You don't expect that all of your guild members would have written a haiku but the bad priest and this would have sorted him out, do you?

People who can't follow instructions when they should are as bad as people who don't think for themself.
(My opinion is STFU during the raid and post it on the forum.)

A lot of guilds have stupid ideas what they expect from someone applying and all I'm saying is that you will miss out on good applicants.

Kayeri wrote a very good comment.

Bell said...

@Kring - In mine, and my guild's opinions, "good applicants" are able to recognize the effort and time we put into creating our guild application format, and if they don't like it they will just not bother. If you don't like the application format, don't apply. I already said in response to blueberrytotem that this is how it should work. You can't know what everyone is going to like or not like, but you do know what the guild wants and if you don't want to give them that, then they're not the guild for you. Obviously there is a little leeway, but generally you just don't apply if you don't want to share the information the guild is looking for.

Anonymous said...

Our application lists a few "scenarios" asking how an applicant might respond in certain circumstances.

Because I have been known to lose my temper with someone in vent (although I'm getting better, honest! I haven't really completely blown up at anyone since Kalegos...I think *grumbles about inept portals clickers*); and because we regularly call people out in vent when trying to work through what's going wrong, we have a specific question on our app that asks how a person would respond to being called out in vent, asked to leave the raid until they understood the mechanics of a fight, or being told that they have made a mistake in front of their peers.

Personally, I like the honest answers. The ones that say "I'd probably be upset" or "It would make me mad, but I'd deal with it and talk to the officer after the raid" because these are REAL responses to honest feelings that a player is likely going to have just by virtue of human nature. As opposed to the guy that just wants to get his foot in the door and responds "I would have no issues whatsoever" or some such thing.

So...answering all the questions, and being honest about them can go a long ways in an application, I would agree.